It's fun to creep downstairs at 4am, hoping to catch a fat old guy breaking into your house.
"Oi, you there. What's your game, then ?"
"Ho-ho-ho, young fella. And have you been a good boy this year ?"
"Look you old fool, I'm 56 and about to call the police. How did you get in here anyway ?"
"I came down the chimney of course and where's my mince pie and glass of wine ?"
"Listen, you geriatric pervert. It's no use you sneaking around in my living room at 4am and trying to get away with it. And stop loading our pressies into that sack".
"But I'm giving you these presents. That's what I do. I'm Santa Claus !!!"
"And I'm Mother Teresa. Now get your clothes on and leave that elf alone."
Of course things like that don't happen in sunny Buttonwood Bay. We don't have chimneys for a start. Or stairs. Although it IS possible to wake up at 4am and find a fat old bearded man in your living room. The general consensus is that's it's always best to gently lead him back to his own place and inform the front office the next morning. No harm done.
Mind you, it has been known that a few of the lonlier old ladies tend to hang onto these infrequent visitors for a few days and THEN gently lead them back to their own place. Well the sign at the park entrance does claim this to be an "active community".
But getting back to all things Christmas, it's sometimes hard to get into the festive spirit here when it's in the 80's and everyone is in shorts and t-shirts. Yes, a lot of the houses are bedecked with enough lights to be seen by the shuttle crew and yes, there are lots of Christmas trees throbbing away with multicoloured bulbs inside the houses, but it's just not the same. We all pass each other on our golf carts and merrily shout "Happy Holidays" and "Bon Noel" (we're a multinational bunch here and some are from Canada !!) but if past experience is anything to go by, some of the more confused residents will still be doing that in March.
At this time of year, kids and grandkids are all over the park. They clog up the pool, speed along the roads at 12 mph on the carts, hurl the bocce balls like professional pitchers, win all the bingo sessions as they can daub the numbers faster and worst of all, are out and about after 8pm ! Up to no good, I'll be bound. God I'm so old.
We didn't have turkey yesterday. Didn't even have ham. No, we went the less traditional route and had steak. Done on the grill. Outside. At 6pm. It was 73F and we hardly needed the grill.
We'd thought about going to the beach but we didn't. We thought about going to the park pool but we didn't. The day just passed like most other days here although we did eat a lot more and watched less tv. After the steak meal we watched "Wall-E" which was cute but hardly an Oscar nominee.
Today is the day after Christmas Day, which in America is known as....the day after Christmas Day. I miss Boxing Day. I miss not getting dressed till mid afternoon. I miss nibbling at stray food items left around from yesterday. I miss looking again at some of the presents in the hopes that they've somehow turned into something I actually wanted. I miss "The Great Escape".
Well ok no, I don't actually miss "The Great Escape" but I do miss being able to not watch it. AGAIN.
In a few days the Christmas lights here will come down and the shuttle crew can lift their visors again. The mini trees will be boxed away and shoved to the back of closets along with the hats, scarves and wooly mittens that family members sent to show they had a sense of humour.
"Oh I know, lets send grandpa a scarf so he can wear it on Christmas Day".
I hope they still see the joke when told that grandpa was carted off to hospital suffering from heat stroke as he was also wearing the hat, gloves, fleece, sweat pants and thermal socks hilariously sent by other family members from Fargo, Dakota. Ho-ho-ho.
The lines at Customer Services will be long today. Unwanted pressies will be going back.
"Well I'm glad that's over for another year" will be the common sentiment and many retailers will be checking the sales figures to see if a late spending spree has meant they can ward off closure for a while longer. Customers with any credit left will be looking for even more deals as stores become even more desperate. Plasma TV's will be found inside Corn Flakes boxes and you'll be able to enjoy a 7 day cruise around the Caribbean islands for the cost of a 4 slot toaster. Maybe even 2 slots.
Now we can look forward to the end of the year (hurrah !!) and then it'll be Easter. Houses will be decorated with all things rabbit and.......oh jeez enough already.
I look out the window here and I see blue skies and palm trees. No snow. No rain. There is no rush hour because there is no rush. And I count these as blessings no matter what the time of year.
So I hope you're all having/will have/have had a lovely Boxing Day wherever you may be and remember this : if you find an big old fat stranger wandering around in your living room today, the chances are he really isn't Santa Claus.
And if you live here in sunny Buttonwood Bay, please give him back before the weekend.